The spring is when the understory of wooded areas of the garden come into their own. Whether is is just the corner under a large deciduous tree or a long wooded boundary, with the lengthening days and higher light levels reaching the woodland floor, spring is the main season of interest for these areas in the garden. There are a host of plants that produce high impact in early spring. These hardy plants then cope with the dry conditions and dense shade provided by the tree canopy above latter in the year. Here are some winning favourites.
Ribes sanguineum ‘White Icicle’: Medium sized upright shrub, with hairy stems and small palmate mid green leaves. The bare stems hang with long racemes of delicate white flowers in April. It copes well with semi-shade so a woodland edge shrub. Soil, fertile. Lots of leaf litter.
Epimedium x perraichicum Frohnleiten: A small mound shaped shrub, with mid green leaves that are heart shaped, and are bronze when young. This evergreen shrub will cope well with dappled shade and thrives in fertile soil with lots of leaf litter. Small dainty yellow flowers are born on stems above the leaves in April-May.
Geranium phaeum: A statuesque geranium at 80cm tall, with upright stems of mid green palmate leaves with dark chocolate splashes in the centre. This strong grower will cope well with dense shade, and will cope with dryer soils. It has small dark purple flowers mid- May onwards.
Helleborus argutifolius: A tall robust Hellebore at 60cm. With pea green stems and leaves. The leaves are deeply lobed with a serrated edge. Large clusters of green saucer shaped flowers, are produced from April into mid-summer. It will cope well with semi-shade but likes a humus rich soil.
Polygotatum x hybridum: Please Note, poisonous if eaten. This wonderful woodland plant adds elegance to your planting tall arching stems to 70cm high with dark green leaves in pairs along the stem. In May delicate drops of white flowers hang down from the arching stems.
Pulmonaria longifolia: A superb woodland ground cover plant, clumps of low growing leaves mid to dark green with white silvery dots. Clusters of small flowers are held on stems above the leaves and are in a vivid shade of blue. Flowering March to April. Grows in dappled to dark shade in a good fertile soil.
Tiarella ‘Iron Butterfly’: this clump forming evergreen ground cover plant adds a touch of the exotic to a woodland planting mix. Clumps of palmate bronzed green leaves with dark splashes and thin stems of small neat fragrant cream pink flowers are produced in late spring. Semi-shade in fertile soil.
When planting up a woodland area under trees always plant in small sizes or bare root, this makes it easier to plant between the roots of the trees. Also go for a more natural approach, allow the plants to flow and mix variates, to give a more wild and natural carpet effect to your planting. If you would like help with your woodland planting or any other planting advise and plans then do please give me a ring. Tel: 01273 470753 to talk to Emily about all your planting needs.